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JohnS

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  1. I think it’s great that people post their pictures, which might well cover different angles. And I’m afraid it now looks as if I ‘like’ the fact that you’ve removed your photos. I’d say carry on posting!
  2. Highlights - Mayerling with Bonelli/Morera (and I do hope we see them in Onegin) - Bayerdere Shades without the scrim - Winter Dreams with Morera, a very special performance - DonQ with Osipova and O’Sullivan’s Amour every time - R&J and a fabulous set of performances: Sambe/O’Sullivan’s debut; Correles/Hayward and such a well matched cast with their second performance the overall standout of the year for me; Ball/Naghdi in the theatre and in the relay; and of course Osipova’s extraordinary Juliet - Month in the Country with all casts in a truly wonderful Triple Bill that brought the curtain down so fittingly on a fabulous season Lowlights - Some disappointments by way of casting. Would have loved to see Hayward as Mary Vetsera, Morera in Month in the Country, and O’Sullivan having her Stephanie debut here - lucky LA audience! - Not convinced by some guest dancers. I thought Tissi and Hallberg were weak when compared directly on stage with Royal Ballet Tybalts/Mercutios/Benvolios. I do hope we see Osipova developing more Royal Ballet partnerships. - Unknown Soldier I found hugely disappointing. - Royal Opera House’s website where we still don’t have a functioning calendar, the Baker Richards consultancy and its handling by the Royal Opera House, and I regret very much what I consider to be the Royal Opera House’s failure to engage audiences in constructive debate.
  3. I see 9 Stalls seats available this morning (£58) - not sure what was going on when I thought I checked yesterday evening.
  4. Absolutely - there were a number of good Stalls/Stalls Circle seats available this morning but I see they’ve been snapped up. It really is a fabulous experience.
  5. And sometimes ROH doesn’t bother with a news item - the Annual Report 2017-18, much delayed, was published on the web but without any news item. Seems very strange to me as most organisations I would have thought would make something of their Annual Reports.
  6. This increasingly standard ‘comments closed’ may also have a knock on effect where news items are actually open for comments - there are just 4 webpage comments on the cinema Romeo & Juliet relay.
  7. I see the competition is heading towards the finals and broadcast coverage I think begins today - if you’re in Wales or can access BBC Wales. Very limited coverage on UK BBC4 and Radio 3 but more via iPlayer etc - BBC coverage used to be so much better and another nail in the coverage of the Arts. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qn4b/episodes/guide
  8. My understanding from albeit a rudimentary grasp of tittle tattle is that Edwina Currie was bowled over on more than one occasion by John Major so I am quite certain penelopesimpson is Penelope Simpson. As regards more substantive matters, I recognise many strengths in Alex Beard but that does not mean that there are not valid criticisms to be made. I like much of Open Up but, as has been argued at length on other threads, there are a number of relatively modest changes that would enhance the project by emphasising the international standing of the Royal Opera House’s product and its raison d'etre. It is good that the Box Office now has some space in the main building (although in front of what was an interesting display). I am concerned by Alex Beard’s public statements about pricing and that ticket price increases have been kept below inflation and I think the whole Baker Richards consultancy episode was very badly handled. Again other threads have the detail. I am not impressed that letters are not even acknowledged let alone answered. Prior to Alex Beard’s attendance at the Ballet Association meeting, I set out what I had discussed with a senior member of his staff in what I thought was a constructive, supportive email. I am sure he receives a huge volume of correspondence but being in such a high profile position, leading an organisation in receipt of public funds, in my opinion requires a better response. I think it poor that legitimate questions asked on the website are left unanswered and Alex Beard as Chief Executive needs to ensure that the ROH takes seriously its engagement with audience members.
  9. I’ve always found Lord Capulet’s treatment of Juliet disturbing, even when toned down in more recent runs as I’m sure in the past Capulet has indicated he’d hit Juliet with his belt. But we still see that threat with most Capulets making as if to hit Juliet but then restraining themselves, and all Capulets signal to Paris in effect to do as he wishes with Juliet in that grotesque pdd. So I’m not in the ‘poor Paris’ camp. What has thrown me this time round is Mercutio’s death as much caused by Romeo’s push as Tybalt’s sword and then Tybalt’s remorse, particularly as shown by Gary Avis. Romeo then fights and kills Tybalt but this no longer comes across as justified revenge as Romeo seems as culpable for Mercutio’s death as Tybalt. With doubts about Romeo’s moral compass, he risks losing some of our sympathy and it’s no longer as clear that Romeo deserves Juliet (as a poster mentioned much earlier in the thread). That ambiguity I think sits rather uncomfortably with the final scene, and risks diminishing its impact, even when played so beautifully by Matthew Ball/Yasmine Naghdi in the cinema relay.
  10. Well Sim had her wish come true with David Yudes as a spectacular Kolia (even with the wig). We’ll have to wait for the next run for any chance of Laura Morera’s Natalia but I did enjoy Lauren Cuthbertson. At first I thought there was just a sense that her Natalia might be heading for the sherry a little too frequently but her portrayal of boredom and the excitement offered by Beliaev was wonderful to see. The final moments, discarding Beliaev’s flower and the slow walk towards the front, were achingly poignant. And a fabulous cast. Vadim Muntagirov danced wonderfully and brought much more to the role, delighting in flirting with Katia (Lara Turk) and, having checked either that he couldn’t escape or that no one was coming, I thought he showed a real tenderness for Vera. But of course his heart was broken by Natalia and he left the Yslaev country estate sadder but much wiser. I found Anna-Rose O’Sullivan’s Vera delightful, a sparkling debut, and her dancing with Vadim Muntagirov was exquisite. Firebird of course was first with fabulous, utterly compelling performances from Yasmine Naghdi and Gary Avis. Symphony in C really fizzed for me. Joseph Sissens again standing out in the first movement, I loved Sarah Lamb’s second movement, great to see Mayara Magri and Marcelino Sambé in the third movement, and Francesca Hayward and James Hay scintillating in the fourth movement. This Triple Bill has provided a really fitting end to a fabulous season, sadly my last performance. So congratulations and many thanks to the Royal Ballet and looking forward to October.
  11. A few late thoughts about last Friday’s matinee before this evening’s performance. I very much enjoyed the matinee and it was good to see the Triple Bill from the Balcony Stalls, particularly Firebird and Symphony in C. As regards Month, I loved Osipova and Kish but was not as taken with some of the others. Osipova suggested real pathos at the end. I found Hallberg ok but I thought he struggled lifting Vera, and I don’t think he was ‘acting’ the struggle. I prefer Beliaev to have some feeling for Vera and for it not just to be Vera’s infatuation - and I don’t want Vera to come across as simply besotted as surely we want to feel some sympathy for her position. I thought Acri good but Hay better. I did like Bhavnani’s Maid but I found Howells pretty nondescript. I’m afraid Hinkis seems to me to be putting in so much effort it rather gets in the way of the performance. I always feel she’s in danger of getting behind whereas some dancers are so clearly on the beat if not that fraction of a second ahead which gives the impression of lightness, never rushing and driving the performance. Symphony in C was good. I may well be wrong as I certainly never look at the times but I did think the tempi a bit slower than on opening night and thought certainly the first movement could have had more panache. It was a shame about Kaneko’s first opening but she recovered well and she’s a real gem. Sissens was excellent and I thought Corrales better than on opening night. Ball isn’t Muntagirov but no one is. I liked the second movement and I was very impressed with Campbell in the third movement - Choe seemed somewhat earthbound in comparison. O’Sullivan seemed so much more naturally on the beat than Hinkis. I really enjoyed the fourth movement which seemed to have a real zip to it and more relaxed (if that’s possible) than on the opening night. As regards comments about the lack of synopses, I’ve put something on the ROH website lauding the Triple Bill but bemoaning the lack of printed (or accessible) synopses on either the Cast Sheet or Programme - not very ‘Open Up’. I also noticed that there was a similar comment and I do hope the ROH takes note.
  12. I very much enjoyed last night’s relay, including all the introductions/interval features. I found R&J as a pair very moving, believable, engaging and the balcony/bedroom scenes lovely - they clearly trusted each other and there was a real exuberance which I found captivating. One aspect I found odd - Mercutio’s death seemed very much Romeo’s fault, Tybalt showed the most remorse, and that sets up a bit of a problem as we may sympathise much more with Tybalt than is normally the case. I’m sure Romeo’s contribution to Tybalt’s death is played up much more in some performances than others and last night seemed a shade too much to me. And do other Tybalts really show that level of remorse? I thought done showed hardly any/none. As others have said Valentino Zucchetti was much better than on 1 June and I do like Benjamin Ella - there’s a real confidence in all he does and I find he’s so on the beat that he never looks rushed. Loved the street scenes and the opportunities for so many to make their contributions. Does any one know if Anna-Rose was lead Juliet’s friend in every performance (when she wasn’t dancing Juliet)? One or two odd selections by the director - we didn’t see Juliet arrive at the Ball and I don’t think the focus on either Romeo or Juliet at the end of the Balcony scene did justice to the wonder of the curtain fall. I may well go to the encore - for the Medusa Triple Bill I think we heard that there was to be a DVD before the encore performances took place which was very helpful as the nearest cinema from home was a 90 minute drive. Many more R&J encores closer but a DVD would be very welcome.
  13. In the cinema I thought it was clear that Juliet tried to finish the poison but the bottle was empty - hence she stabbed herself ... and much more effectively than 1 June as Sim has pointed out.
  14. But I think this was on the Marcelino Sambe ‘congratulations’ thread and there was a suggestion (from balletbangorboy) that promotion wishes etc should be posted on the ‘predictions’ page.
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